Workshop's Teachers
The teachers that are currently participating in the Workshop's activities


Ivan Varimezov was born in Bulgaria and received a B.A. degree in folk instrument performance and ensemble conducting from the Academy of Music and Dance in Plovdiv. Raised in the traditions of his native region of Strandzha, he is one of the most outstanding gaida (bagpipe) players of his generation, and he has many solo recordings and awards to his name. 


Ivan Varimezov, master player of the Bulgarian bagpipe(gaida) and director of traditional folk instrumental ensembles, was born on June 3, 1958 in the city of Sredets near Burgas, Bulgaria. He began his musical education at the knee of his uncle, Kostadin Varimezov, who was Bulgaria's most famous bagpiper until his death in 2002 and the subject of a book by the American scholar Timothy Rice titled "May It Fill Your Soul": Experiencing Bulgarian Music. Ivangraduated from Kotel High School for Music in 1977. He continued his musical education at the Plovdiv Academy of Music and Dance, where in 1983 he received his M.A. Degree in instrumental performance and conducting. From 1979 to 1984 in parallel with his studies at the Plovdiv Academy he was a soloist in the "Thrace" Ensemble of Music and Dance-Plovdiv and from 1984 to 1991 he was a soloist and conductor of the folk instrumental group of "Pazardzhik" Ensemble. However, his dream was to move to the capital, Sofia, and play in two of the most prestigious ensembles in Bulgaria: The National Ensemble of Folk Music and Dance-"Philip Koutev" and The Bulgarian National Radio Folk Orchestra. In 1991 he and his family moved to the big city and his dreams came true. He performed with the National Radio Orchestra until 2001. Throughout his musical career he has toured Europe, Russia, Japan, Mexico, Turkey, Scandinavia, and the USA, as well as taught many Bulgarian and foreign bagpipers. In 2001, he and his wife, Tzvetanka, were invited by UCLA to be professors of Bulgarian folk music at the Department of Ethnomusicology. He teaches bagpipe and conducts the UCLA Balkan Band. Currently, he also has a number of private students in Los Angeles. In the summer of 2005 he produced a solo CD, accompanied by the folk orchestra of the Bulgarian Radio and Television. The same year Ivan and Tzvetanka Varimezovi produced a CD with the UCLA Balkan Folk Ensemble, which includes "Superdevoiche" women’s choir and UCLA. In 2005, 2008 and 2010 Ivan organized Bulgarian tours for the students from UCLA BALKAN ENSEMBLE: 
In 2005 - The UCLA BALKAN ENSEMBLE and the Directors Ivan and Tzvetanka Varimezovi were invited to perform at International Folklore Festival in Bourgas - Bulgaria. The UCLA BALKAN ENSEMBLE performed in front of more than 2000 people received DIPLOM at the Festival from the Mayor of the town of Bourgas - Ioan Konstantinov. 
In 2008 - On June, 27th, in The National Palace of the Culture, Sofia, Bulgaria was a big concert named - "May It Fill Your Soul" - for two big events : 
*In the occasion of awarding Prof. Timothy Rice, Director of the "Herb Alpert School of Music"- UCLA with the Order of "St.St. Kiril and Metodii" second class from The President of the Republic of Bulgaria, Georgi Parvanov, for his significant contribution to the scientific study of Bulgarian musical folklore and for the popularization of Bulgarian culture in the United States of America. 
*And the celebrating the 50th Anniversary and 30 year professional artistic career of Ivan Varimezov, musician-bagpiper, soloist at The Orchestra for Bulgarian Folklore Music at the Bulgarian National Radio and Television- Sofia, conductor of Ensemble " Pazardzhik" and currently - Adjunct Professor of Bulgarian Folk Music at The Department of Ethnomusicology at UCLA. During the concert on June,27th Ivan received the “Golden Lyre” from Union of Bulgarian Musicians and Dancers and Honorary Citizen Award from his native town, Sredetz, in recognition of his 30-year professional artistic career. On the concert performed UCLA BALKAN ENSEMBLE, The Orchestra for Bulgarian Folklore Music at The National Bulgarian Radio and Television - Sofia, FOLK ENSEMBLE "PAZARDZHIK"- Bulgaria, FOLK GROUP "SREDETS" Sredets , Bulgaria and Varimezov's Family Ensemble - Ivan, Tzvetanka, Radka and Tanya. 
In 2010 Ivan Varimezov organized next Bulgarian tour for 150 people from all over the world and big concert on Aug, 04, 2010 in Bulgarian Hall - Sofia, dedicated to the 50th anniversary and 30 year professional artistic career of his wife Tzvetanka Varimezova as a musician, singer and conductor.  This concert was so far the biggest concert ever organized in Bulgaria including more than 150 people on the stage, which choirs and musicians Ivan and Tzvetanka were working with 
The same concert was repeated on Aug, 05, 2010 in Tzvetanka's native town Pazardzhik. Those 150 singers and musicians from all over the world were invited to perform on Aug, 07, 2010 at The 10th National Festival of Folk Art Koprivshtitsa, Bulgaria.

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